Skip to main content

Full text of "The Gay Genius"

See other formats

352                              THE GAY GENIUS

of Ouyang Shiu, Szema Kuang, Chang Fangping, Fan Chunjen, Fan
Tsuyu, Wang Anli, Han Chi, Han Wei, Wen Yenpo, Liu Chih, Chen
Shiang, Cheng Shia, and the learned poet monk Teh-hung.

I. SUNG MEMOIRS (Nos. 63-100) :

Richest in material casting sidelights on Su Tungpo's life and times
are the memoirs of Su's contemporaries and those coming a little after
him. Memoirs or notebooks are the laziest form of literature, requiring
no organisation of material, and are therefore the most popular literary
occupation of Chinese scholars. Such notebooks vary from serious and
sometimes highly important records of historical events and documents,
written to supplement official histories,,to the most disorderly jumble
of tales of ghosts, fox spirits, and reincarnations, all these sometimes
co-existing in the same volume. In general, the notebooks come well -
under the general classification of "scholars' gossip". I have made full
use of the literary gossip in the categories shown below, but have
excluded from the list the many shih-hua, or "talks on poetry", very
popular with the Sung scholars, which usually tell why certain famous
lines were written and under what circumstances.

Many duplicate editions of the following memoirs are available in
the different tsungshu, or "collections'* or libraries". In general, the
text of the Tsintai Library is better than that of Paoyentang, and the
Shuehtsin is still better than the Tsintai. Since the appearance in 1935
of the Tsungshu Chicheng or "Collection of Collections", bringing
them all together in a uniform, inexpensive, and wisely selected edition,
scholars would do well henceforth to refer to this collection, because
now reference by a simple page number is possible.
. -(a) Memoirs by two elder contemporaries: No. 63 is by Szema
Kuang, and No 6. is by Fan Chen. For the source of important diaries
of the elder statesmen of the period, see No. 101.

() Two highly important memoir writers: These two authors'
works are considered of great value to historians; they also differ from
other memoirs in that they often consist of very long sections on special
events. No. 65, in two series, is by the son and grandson of the neo-
Confucianist Shao Yung; the son lived for a time in close association
with Szema Kuang during his retirement at Loyang. Because of a split
within the neo-Confucianist camp, the grandsons' record upheld Su
Tungpo against the Cheng brothers, who were rivals of his grand-
father's school. Nos 66 to 68, written between 1166 and 1200, are by
Wang Mingching, an indefatigable writer of memoirs; they were sub-
mitted to the emperor by decree on account of their importance. As
die writer's mother was a granddaughter o Tseng Pu, Wang Anshih's
henchman, he was inclined to be partial towards Tseng Pu and Wang